Ruppert Growing Fenwick Island Retail Scene

T.K. Dickerson

Staff Writer

Ruppert is no stranger to owning and operating retail stores in Fenwick Island,
as she has owned Body Double, a swimwear store, for nearly 25 years.

When she realized that
her customers’ need for casual wear was growing and Body Double alone could not
accommodate, she opened her most recent venture – Under the Banyan Tree.

Since its opening this
past April, the resort-wear store has been a success. Ruppert attributes the
fairly easy transition to her loyal clientele.

“After 24 years, [I’ve]
built up such a customer base at Body Double, it’s free advertising,” said

Though Ruppert does most
of her shopping at West Coast shows, she has a “pretty big local customer
base”. By keeping Body Double open year round, Ruppert catered to the locals
who needed bathing suits for vacations.

Under the Banyan Tree
fits similar needs – catering to a customer group for which there is a void in

“It’s not the stuff you
find in a surf shop,” emphasizes Ruppert.

In both Ocean City and
Fenwick Island, most retail stores are surf shops, leaving women and men who
want to “dress their age” while still looking youthful in a difficult position,
according to Ruppert.

Ruppert says she
targeted men and women in their 30s through 60s for her store, though she
received a surprising number of younger girls who were interested in the store
this summer.

Perhaps an attribute of
both Body Double and Under the Banyan Tree that attracts so many customers is
Ruppert and her staff’s dedication to customer service. The main goal of both
stores, says Ruppert, is “making people happy”.

Much like the Banyan
Tree, the tree that inspired the name of her store and is known for “promoting
peace and tranquility”, Ruppert hopes to make a relaxing and comfortable
atmosphere for her customers to shop in.

Her goal is to meet
every customer’s needs and she will work with a customer for hours if she needs

“We want to make them
feel good about themselves,” says Ruppert.

With comfortable sitting
chairs, polished wood and a tropical theme, shopping at Under the Banyan Tree
is nearly guaranteed to be a good experience.

The tropical, resort
theme of the store carries over in to the lines that Ruppert carries. For
women, the store offers Tommy Bahama, Weston Wear, Veronica M, Analilli and
many more.

When creating Under the
Banyan Tree, Ruppert was sure to include a men’s section.

“That was hard,” she

The men’s wear section
of the store includes such popular brands as Tommy Bahama, Southern Tide and

The store is equipped to
meet any resort customer’s needs. The store offers lines of nice clothes as
well as more casual and low-key clothing. Under the Banyan Tree sells hats,
clothing, flip flops and jewelry, among other things.

Whether customers are on
vacation or locals, Ruppert is striving to accommodate all needs, all the while
making shopping at one of her two enterprises an enjoyable experience for